Golden Lucy's Spiral Journal

Going on 87...Savoring and Surviving the Senior Years

Monday, December 31, 2007


Only a few hours left of 2007 but I'm not going out to boogie til the ball drops. That doesn't mean I won't be awake at midnight---that will happen when toads fly. No, I'll be wide awake as per usual in the comfort and privacy of my warm and fluffy four-poster bed. But I'll be counting down with those fools out in frigid, probably drizzly Times Square and watch the dropping of the new, improved brilliant ball.

What a short, short year it's been! And yet so eventful for both the big old world and little old me. We've both had our ups and downs with moments of sublime joy and terrifying despair---in what seem to be accelerating cycles. I don't think there has been so much change so fast in all of human history. It's hard to keep adjusting!

So even though the world will never follow suit, I find it comforting to make a few concrete and attainable resolutions for the new year. The focus makes my own little (if ever-changing) world seem less overwhelming. Therefore, during the coming year I propose (in no particular order) to:

1. Stay off the pity pot. There are times when I positively love to wallow in it. Yuck! At my age floundering in the doo-doo may be understandable but it's decidedly unattractive---especially to me.

2. Fight against proscrastination---right now and not tomorrow. I will work on my typing before my next computer class in March. (If I don't, I'll be banished.) How embarassing. I hope my pride and vanity prick me on if my good character fails.

3. Overcome approach avoidance to typing regular comments to my adored blog pals. It's really not hard as climbing Pikes Peak in a nightgown and stilettos. Give up the dream that good intentions are the same as actually doing something.

4. Actually eat the fresh fruits and vegetables I buy. Actually take my vitamins and supplements. Actually exercise regularly. (See Resolution #3)

5. Always remember how blessed I am in every way and try to pass it on. Be "gratefuller" and "gratefuller" every day. Love more. Give more. FORgive more. Laugh more.

My other particular resolutions fit neatly into one or more of the above---I won't bore you any further! In closing I just want to share an incident that happened yesterday. Last week I gave a small holiday cash gift to the Polish cleaning woman in my building. She takes great pride in her work and always has a cheerful word---(even though I see she often has to put up with crabbiness and sometimes downright nastiness from some of these old farts.) I wanted to let her know I really appreciate her.

Yesterday morning I answered a knock on my door to find Nadia with a can of homemade candy. "For you!" she exclaimed happily. And then I realized that letting someone know they're valued and allowing THEM to give is truly the best gift of all. I resolve to remember that this year. Happy 2008 and GD bless us all!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

A Gift Never Forgotten

There were no holiday presents in our family. In fact, there were no presents period. For anything. There was seldom money for rent and food and gifts for children were most certainly never on the agenda. To my way of thinking the reason was frustrating and avoidable.

My father was incurably lazy. Inert as a slug. His aversion to work---and the lengths he went to avoid it might make an entertaining television show. Papa was bright, funny and handsome. He didn't drink, gamble, run around or even smoke. My mother was crazy about him, forgave his ineffectuality and laughed at his philosopical bon mots. However, his laziness was anything but funny to me. Even as a very young child I was embarrassed and resentful---Except for one magic moment when Papa made me a princess. Remembering it now is so bittersweet.

When I was about 6, (for some unknown reason) Papa decided to get a job. He became a insurance salesman for the Superior Fidelity Life Insurance Company. Not surprisingly he was good at it. He could talk anybody into anything---which is how we usually survived. In any case, he received a big commission on an exceptionally large policy and announced he was taking the family on a riverboat holiday.
He bought me a beautiful new dress. And shiny new shoes and fluffy stockings. I really did feel like a princess. My mother, younger sister and brother were likewise outfitted and proud as peacocks we all strutted up the gangplank to the upper section of the white, gold and red riverboat.

The trip was dreamily wonderful. As usual I was left mostly unsupervised. I explored the boat in my finery feeling so adequate, so acceptable, so, dare I say, really special. In the evening I especially loved mingling with other elegantly attired guests in the "salon." Saloon was probably a better word for it, but to me it all was so very, very chic.

A long, shiny bar (probably scratched and greasy). Heavy velvet curtains (probably dusty) draped around probably smudged windows. But best of all, the ornately carved upright piano and the impossibly exquisite pianist. All gold and sparkles, rare jewels glittering on her fingers and wrists. And how she could sing!

The memory that is completely clear---a snapshot in time, is of me peeking through the rail that separated my idol from the crowd. I pressed as close as a could, fairly fainting with excitement and pleasure. The song I remember---and can almost hear now, was "Poor Butterfly." Oh! and she sang it so beautifully I thought my little-girl heart would burst.

Poor Butterfly, 'neath the blossoms waiting
Poor Butterfly, for she loved him so
The moments pass into hours
The hours pass into years, and as she smiles through her tears
She murmurs low, the moon and I know that he'll be faithful
I'm sure he'll come back by and by
But if he don't come back, I just must die, poor Butterfly...

And then it was time to go home. Back to oatmeal, potatoes and moves in the dark. Back to Papa dropping out and sleeping in and Mama working at the dime store lunch counter. But not back to feeling the same as before. I'd been to heaven and that was a gift from Papa I'd never forget.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Happy Holidays and Beyond

My dear blogger pals:
It's Lucy here in a veritable vortex of emotions. Like many of you folks I've got a few bugs in my system. Luckily mine are more physical than mental---but then that's just my opinion.
In any case, I've been reading your blogs but not writing mine.
One excuse: Carole, Jack and I took a holiday hiatus out of my computer-range and then of course there was my rebellious bod---my shoulders, and thence, my elbows and hands---all of them have been naughty, naughty, naughty.
"Sit quietly Lucy,' they malevolently whisper---'Or we'll make you wince til your eyes water---and that's the just the good part." Oh! I do so want to sit on the pity-pot and mourn my loss and pain but I know that won't make things any better here in Elderdom.
So despite aches, pains and depression I keep coming back to the blogging community---because nothing in my life makes me feel more engaged and alive. I know someone will suggest I "get a life" with "real" people. Then I'll reply: So are all of these blogfolks just chopped liver? Just because I'm no longer am physically able to touch my chin to my knees (as if I ever could--- or would even want to), and just because it take longer to process information and I can't mutlitask as as I did in days of yore doesn't mean my brain has permanently gone to Denver. My blog pals are real living, breathing and thinking people and are a hell of a lot more interesting than many of the breathing but only marginally "living" folks I see around me. I still can choose my friends, after all.

After my trip I came back to see Ronni's posts during the first week of December. I'm so relieved she decided to continue writing Time Goes By. We need her and people like her---if such an animal exists. After I read Ronni's frustrated post on 12/03 I thought, "Ronni, you almost made me lose it." Giving one's best, as I'm sure Ronni always aims for, is a pretty thankless task. (More often than not it will not be recognized by others---and it may well be resented.) But I need Ronni and folk like her to inspire and challenge me at a time when I and those around me tend to find it easier to just check out. I want to continue to care. And after all, I can still vote and voice my opinion---though GD knows there aren't any genuine statemen to vote for.
Above all, every day, I listen eagerly to all of your stories and as per the saying from the Joy Luck Club, I send you my very best intentions. And recognized or not, that does make a difference...even if it's just to me. So with my best intentions---much love and many prayers to you all this holiday season. Don't forget you are all invited to my holiday open house on Friday, Dec. 22. Oh, and yes Chancy, please bring your sleeping bag!